Race Horses – Furniture (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
ABERYSTWYTH’S Race Horses look set to gallop to new heights with sophomore album, Furniture, which emerges as an art-pop thoroughbred in most senses.
More focused than their debut and delivering all the songs in English (as opposed to some in Welsh), this is a breezy record sonically that’s couched in darker tendencies lyrically, but which refuses to drag you down with it.
By their own admission, the new album offers a tighter, more compact sound that was as much inspired by the Quincy Jones’ Michael Jackson era as it was the indie-pop scene and past acts such as Queen and Dexy’s Midnight Runners.
And thematically, it tackles the nature of relationships, whether in good shape or bad, platonic or between mates or simply between lovers. It’s astute in a lot of senses.
The album gets off to a flying start with the tight melodies and catchy chorus of title track Furniture… the bouncing piano chords belying darker lyrics that offer up “we are furniture, she doesn’t see me, I don’t see her”.
Mates, which follows, maintains the upbeat tendencies with almost glockenspiel style beats and a nice energy but, again, it recounts a tale of a friendship being put to the test.
The Queen inspiration is evident on the instrumentals of one of the album highlights, Nobody’s Son, which flirts with the verse structure of Radio Ga Ga before opening into its own brilliant, vibrant chorus. Meilyr Jones’ vocals offer a nice accompaniment, coming over more brooding as opposed to the upbeat, sometimes staccato openers.
Elsewhere, What Am I To Do offers brooding despondency with a Pulp-meets-Noah & The Whale vibe, World 6 indulges the band’s more eccentric, trippy leanings for a minute and 20 seconds, and Bad Blood combines charming melodicism with a little more kookiness and some falsetto vocals.
Another favourite, My Year Abroad, delivers one of the more anthemic choruses and a little more grit to their sound (thereby removing the quirks). It has a vaguely Super Furry Animals vibe to it, while thematically it’s about expressing the need to get away. It’s the sound of Race Horses in full stride.
Final track Old And New, meanwhile, slows down the tempo to offer a moody piano-based ballad that’s both poignant and beautiful. It’s a captivating, thought-provoking song to round off a hugely enjoyable listen.
Download picks: Furniture, Nobody’s Son, My Year Abroad, Old And New